I say ‘holiday’, because it’s one of the main times I actually find myself being able to power through a book and feeling all the better for it. If you’ve managed to master your time slightly better than I have, and can get in a spot of reading during the normal week, please don’t let me be the one to stop you!
Admittedly, these are a somewhat random collection, but they truly are some of my very favourite inspirational and knowledge-imparting health books / biographies / motivational / life-changing reads. I’ve decided to include a variety so that you can pick the ones you feel best suit you in your time of life; whether you need inspiration or you want to dive in deeper to specific hot topics.
I’m by no means an avid reader, comparative to my sister at least who started reading from day zero and has never stopped – racking up a rather impressive tally in the 1000’s I’m sure! Mine, a little (lot) shy of that, is probably firmly in the very low hundreds – it’s consistently on my New Year’s resolution list … as I’m sure it’ll stay, but I do make the books I read count…
There are two lessons, or rather pieces of advice that I was given from a young age about reading that I’d like to share with you first, and then we’ll get down to it!
Lesson 1: My father has always proclaimed the power of reading. The fact that you can get someone’s lifetime learnings, insights and experience tucked up into a 2-hour read is one of the best gifts in the world. It is quicker to learn from other people’s mistakes, then by wasting time in trial and error – we all have something to learn from others.
The metaphor “Standing on the shoulders of giants” sums this up perfectly. John of Salisbury wrote, “We see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature”. I think it’s a humbling and worthwhile lesson to learn.
Lesson 2: That no matter what the book is, you will always gain at least one piece of information that you can take away with you to better your life and your success – in everything from relationships, to happiness, career and health. I will forever remember my dad ingraining this into me, and so even now, if I go through chapters of a book thinking that nothing applies – I will without fail hit that sentence, paragraph or page that I know has just helped me in some small way, forever.
A final note: I don’t think any book is perfect, completely unbiased, totally accurate or utterly impartial; but we choose to select the books we read because of an interest in the topic or belief in the person writing it. It’s important not to get caught up in every single detail and piece of research thrown at you, but to take and learn from it what you can, and choose how you might implement that in your own life, the best way you see fit.
Without further ado, here are some of my very best read recommendations!
- Lick the Sugar Habit
The name of this book is rather self-explanatory but it was one of the very first health-focused reads I loved. More so now than ever, sugar is a worryingly huge part of many people’s day-to-day diets and it really does come with some damaging effects in the wrong quantities and qualities. “Lick the Sugar Habit” is eye-opening, a little scary, but informative all the same and I really appreciated having that knowledge many years ago. The research and claims aren’t all correct in my opinion, but overall it definitely changed my outlook on sugar and in fact, lead me to try one month of successfully giving up every single form of sugar (fruit included) which was super interesting and something I’m actually quite proud of as I have a huge sugar tooth!
2. Slow Burn by Stu Mittleman
This is my most recent read and I was surprised to find myself really quite hooked on it – not the total norm for a programme/health book! Stu is an Ultra-distance runner who has completed some insanely inspiring events. Just to mention two of his biggest accolades; he has run a thousand miles in a world record eleven days and twenty hours, and finished second in the celebrated double Ironman, named Ultraman. Finishing one Ironman is seriously challenging enough, but to do two, and place second, is beyond impressive!
The whole concept of the book is about how we use our energy, and whether that comes from fat or from sugar. Stu is naturally pro fat-burning sugar types of exercise and training, and it certainly opened up my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities and science behind enemy expenditure. Personally, I’m not planning to run a marathon, or a super-keen runner either, but regardless I think there’s a way to incorporate his knowledge into an normal training schedule and see rewards because of it.
3. Awaken the Giant Within
Written by Tony Robbins – one incredibly talented man. I have been following Tony’s work from a super young age (again, influenced by my Father) and remember plugging his cassette tapes in whilst having a bath many years ago! I truly credit this book, and his other one ‘Unlimited power’ to a lot of my life choices to date. Even the way I am in my relationship with Jack is down to some really important lessons I learned from him about values in life. It’s a game changer, and if you were to pick up any single book from all the ones I’ve listed, please let this be it. I guarantee you, you will pick up far more than one piece of useful information from it.
4. Money – Master the Game
I’ve included this third book of Tony’s, not because I think it was the most interesting or entirely useful book from page to page (I skimmed quite a few pages), but because it taught me something huge about money, whilst Jack’s and my ability to save for the future has completely changed because of it. I could summarize it for you, but my words won’t do the explanations justice, and therefore you probably wouldn’t feel motivated to follow the principles. All in all, it is about understanding the power of ‘compounding’ … if you’re at that stage in life where money matters or you feel you don’t have a complete grasp on it – order this book now!
5. Alan Sugar – What you see is what you get
This one and the next are two of my favourite Biographies.
A good biography, more than any other kind of book, is incredibly inspiring. Alan Sugar is an interesting man to say the least (!) but wow, is his story one of relentless perseverance and belief in his goals. He was creative, he came from nothing and didn’t particularly have the ideal ‘background’ in so many ways to succeed. However, despite all odds, Alan is one of the most successful business men today, becoming a billionaire in 2015. It’s not even the money he’s made today as to why I loved the book, but rather the reminder than when we set our sights on something – anything is possible.
6. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
Wherever you were born in this world, or when you were born into it – I’m going to place my bets that you know the NIKE brand. The NIKE empire is a phenomenal piece of work by some incredibly talented and motivated people, no less than the visionary himself – Phil Knight. Through no less than the biggest of let downs, the hardest of challenges, the most empowering sense of passion and the toughest of hard work, did Phil Knight create such a profound company. It’s a real must, especially if you love sport as much to make it in you whatever path you have chosen to walk.
7. The Gold Mine Effect
This book would mean something different for each and every person. It’s about Rasmus Akersen’s journey visiting ‘gold mines’ of talent all across the world and figuring out what made/makes them so successful at what they do, specifically in the field of sport. It’s a way to learn from the very best in athletic talent, condensed down into chapters of enjoyable reading. The biggest thing I took away from it (not wanting to become a professional athlete myself … or rather being way too late to the game) is how I will bring up my kids when that time comes. Not in the sense of pushing them to become professional athletes, but certainly being aware of the advantages of timing and practice and how drastically that can affect an outcome.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this diverse collection of some of my very favourite and most gainful reads! There are many more, and I shall make this a regular blog if you all enjoy the insight :) Let me know what your thoughts are and if you’ve decided to dive into any of them yourself!